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April is National Autism Awareness Month

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Did you know April is National Autism Awareness Month? The first National Autism Awareness Month was held by the Autism Society in April 1970. The goal of this month is to educate the public and bring awareness about autism.

The Autism Society, Autism is a complex mental condition and developmental disability, characterized by difficulties in the way a person communicates and interacts with other people. Autism can be be present from birth or form during early childhood (typically within the first three years). Autism is a lifelong developmental disability with no single known cause.

People with autism are classed as having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the terms autism and ASD are often used interchangeably. A wide spectrum disorder, people will autism have set of symptoms unique to themselves; no two people are the same.

Autism is a complex disability. Levels of autism vary person, to person, but some of the characteristics in autistic patients include:

Social Skills: people with autism often find it hard to interact with others. While some autistic children do not have adequate playing and talking skills. Mild symptoms on one end of the spectrum may be displayed through clumsy behavior, being out of sync with those around them and inappropriate or offensive comments being made. At the other end of the spectrum an autistic person may not be interested in others.

Empathy: Empathy is the ability to recognize and understand the feelings of another person. Some with autism find it harder to show empathy to others although they can be taught to acknowledge the others feelings.

Physical Contact: in some cases, physical contact such as hugs, tickling or physical play with others is not liked.

Sudden Changes To Their Environment: Asudden change in the surrounding environment may affect a person with autism. The could be a loud noise, a change in intensity of lighting or even a change in smell.

Speech: Sometimes speech can be affected in people with autism. ‘Echolalia’ is a typical speech symptom in which the person repeats words and phrases that they hear. The speech tone of an autistic person may be monotonous. Where symptoms are more extreme the person may not speak.

These are just a few of the characteristics of autism, The Autism Society of America also run a year long campaign through their 1 Power 4 Autism initiative, in which people are encouraged to hold events to raise awareness and support for those affected by autism.To learn more, visit the Autism Society’s website.

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